Monday, February 1, 2010
In Alabama, Lynne Goebbell was fired from her job at an insulation company because she refused to remove a “Kerry for President” bumper sticker from her car. In Indiana, Daniel Wynn was let go after eight years as a machinist because he had a few beers after work. The company’s owner believed that drinking was a sin. And Christine DeMark was fired from her job as a sales rep because her employer found out that she carried a gene linked to Huntington’s disease. In each case, the workers had no legal rights. What their employers did was entirely legal. Lewis Maltby is the president and founder of the National Workrights Institute and an expert in employment law. He writes about these and many other examples of employer abuses in his new book, Can They Do That? Retaking Our Fundamental Rights in the Workplace. Then, for 15 years, Dr. Danielle Ofri has been an attending physician at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital Center, America’s oldest public hospital, where often her patients only commonality is their need for health. In her book Medicine in Translation: Journeys with My Patients, Ofri shares the stories of the hundreds of immigrants, documented and undocumented, who have ended up in her care.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist, leaked 7,000 pages of top secret documents about the war to the press. It was a Defense Department study never meant to be seen by the public. Its publication in the New York Times proved the war was based on lies and eventually led to president Richard Nixon’s resignation and the end of America’s involvement in Vietnam. Bob talks with Ellsburg about his decision to release the “Pentagon Papers” and with filmmakers Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith about their new documentary called The Most Dangerous Man in America.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
With concerns about mounting national debt so intense now that President Obama has called for a partial spending freeze, Bob turns to David Walker for fiscal opinion and analysis. Walker is a former comptroller general of the United States and head of the Government Accountability Office and he has just written Comeback America: Turning the Country Around and Restoring Fiscal Responsibility. Then, the Berlin Airlift has been called the first battle of the cold war. For almost a year, young men flew old planes over Berlin dropping food, fuel, medicine — even candy — to the two million people below. In his new book Daring Young Men, historian Richard Reeves tells the stories of the civilian airmen who carried out one of history’s largest humanitarian campaigns.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Bach’s Cello Suites are one of the most recognizable pieces of music ever composed. The melodies are ubiquitous in movies, television, commercials — and they have been played at major world events: the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11 memorial services, Ted Kennedy’s memorial service most recently. But the Cello Suites were almost never heard. For centuries after Bach died, the music was lost, discovered accidentally and then popularized by the Spanish cellist Pablo Casals. Eric Siblin tells the story in a book called The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece.
Friday, February 5, 2010
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, Phillip Hoare’s book The Whale: In Search of the Giants of the Deep won the UK’s 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize for nonfiction last year. And it also won rave reviews including this one from the Guardian newspaper: “A magnificent monster of a book, combining a huge wealth of whale lore, zoology, literature, history and personal account. Written with great elegance, enthusiasm and insight, it takes us on an enthralling voyage into the underwater world of the whale and to the heart of an obsession.” Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with curator Dan Gediman about the essay of Ben Lucien Burman. Author, journalist, and World War I veteran Burman wrote 22 books, including the bestselling Catfish Bend series about life in a fictitious Louisiana river town. Several of his books became movies, including Steamboat Round the Bend, which starred Will Rogers.